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Attention span in a 3-4 year old

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My daughter's kindergarten teacher has suggested that we work at increasing her concentration and attention span.  She is extremely bright, alert and curious but flutters from one activity to the next, and has never completed a single task.  A typical thing for her is to take out a puzzle, put 2 or 3 pieces together, then move on, or ask for a story but will get  up and leave after a few pages.  We've noticed the same thing at home; she rarely (if ever) engages in anything for more than 5-10 minutes (and that long is usually with some coaxing).  I've never questioned this, thinking it's normal behavior (she is our oldest and is turning 4 next week) but now I have doubts.  What is a typical attention span for a child that age?

 

Also, I've researched strategies to help kids with t his and the emphasis seems to be on limiting screen time and increasing outdoor play;  we don't even own a tv, she get's bored of dvds or youtube videos after just a few minutes,  and she gets plenty of outdoor time for free play...maybe that's the issue; we're doing too much free play and not enough screentime?!!   :wink 

post #2 of 5

It really depends on what they like to do at this age. It helps to break down the activity into small bits and then praise, no criticism. My DS had a really short attention span at three, but it improved by four. Now, at eight, it is between one and three hours, longer than mine. 

 

He has never completed a puzzle, hates them, but likes drawing and lego. Have you tried building bricks? Wooden or Duplo? Does she have an appropriate chair and desk with few distractions? 

 

I wouldn't expect more than ten minutes at this age, anyway...

post #3 of 5
Your daughter's teacher ought to have a pretty good idea what's typical for that age, since she works with groups of kids that age year after year. So I'd pay attention if she thinks your daughter isn't typical. At 3-4 my kids listened to multiple chapters of a chapter book at one sitting, watched full-length movies on video with good attention, completed craft projects at playgroup, etc. But they seemed to have higher than normal attention spans, so I don't really know what's typical.
post #4 of 5

I teach Head Start and this very age...Your child is probably fine...Kids are so different at this age...What I would suggest is when she goes to get up from the puzzle engage with her and do the puzzle with her...Make it fun and exciting...She is little yet but her attention will grow...Same with reading...When you read to her..Use the voices to engage her...that is what I do when I see I am loosing my little ones...Nothing against anyones child but not all children are able to listen to long stories and do long games ect...at that age...children are as different as all the leaves on the trees..I have seen a child last year at 3 almost 4 who couldn't sit in my circle or do a simple puzzle or hardly sit and have a good conversation with me last year only to come back this year at 4 almost 5 and be the complete opposite because they matured and grew over the summer...I wouldn't worry yet... :)

post #5 of 5

Your child sounds bored in school.

 

Have you considered homeschooling her? There's nothing wrong with her that needs to be 'fixed.' She is just ahead of the other children in class and needs more stimulation. It's sad that all schools do is make all the students stay at one level regardless of whether or not they have moved on from the material that is being worked on.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bena View Post
 

My daughter's kindergarten teacher has suggested that we work at increasing her concentration and attention span.  She is extremely bright, alert and curious but flutters from one activity to the next, and has never completed a single task.  A typical thing for her is to take out a puzzle, put 2 or 3 pieces together, then move on, or ask for a story but will get  up and leave after a few pages.  We've noticed the same thing at home; she rarely (if ever) engages in anything for more than 5-10 minutes (and that long is usually with some coaxing).  I've never questioned this, thinking it's normal behavior (she is our oldest and is turning 4 next week) but now I have doubts.  What is a typical attention span for a child that age?

 

Also, I've researched strategies to help kids with t his and the emphasis seems to be on limiting screen time and increasing outdoor play;  we don't even own a tv, she get's bored of dvds or youtube videos after just a few minutes,  and she gets plenty of outdoor time for free play...maybe that's the issue; we're doing too much free play and not enough screentime?!!   :wink 

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